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Abuse Of Antidepressants And How To Avoid


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There is a reason why there are strict laws against medicines being sold only with a prescription-not only are they harmful taken without a doctor's consultation, but also usually do not take effect in the manner desired by the consumer. Incorrect or excessive dosage is potentially dangerous.

Antidepressants are medicines used for depression treatment. Antidepressants help by raising the extent ofexcitatory neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, that stimulate chemicals in the brain to stabilize mood disorders. Such medicines are helpful as they are usually safe, non-addictive and provide substantial relief as therapeutic medicines towards mental disorders. They are also commonly safe from abuse.

Some antidepressants which have shown evidence of abuse, especially those that are tricyclic and heterocyclic, i. e. antidepressants which are monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

Banned in 1970s, these MAOIs are now proven safe and are now used for different mental disorders including eating disorders, panic attacks and anxiety.

The first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to be approved by the U. S. Food and Drug A(FDA) was Prozac (Fluoxetine) in 1987.

Some SSRIs like Fluoxetine are not as effective as the MAOIs or tricyclics and have been found to be more tolerable and safe from abuse. Medications like Effexor (Venlafaxine), an SSNRI or “selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor", and Wellbutrin (Bupropion), a dopamine reuptake blocking compound are other alternatives in treating anxiety and mood disorders, but have had their share of controversies.

Antidepressants have received a mixed response from medical experts, as it is considered as addictive by some and non-addictive by others.

Refusal of antidepressants to depression patients has sometimes proved fatal, as in the case of suicides.

Abuse of antidepressants has led to addiction, as in cases of methadone-treated addicts by increasing the effects of methadone. These misconceptions have led to people as well as doctors presuming that antidepressants are substances of abuse.

Ceasing to use antidepressants may at times lead to withdrawal symptoms that cannot be considered as abuse and dependence of antidepressants.

The new antidepressants:

  • are more effective than tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • cost less than the older depression medication.
  • reduce chances of depression relapse.
  • help in treating other mental disorders like panic attacks, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder
  • chronic fatigue apart from cases of schizophrenia

When to start and discontinue use of antidepressants Early detection of a mood episode differs from person to person and is different for mood elevations and depressions.

Though the disorder can be treated over a period, early intervention is always better.

Medical advancement coupled with treatment like psychotherapy, EMDR treatment are a boon to the society in which the number of people suffering from mental disorders like bipolar disorder increases dramatically.

Right antidepressants are individually prescribed, based on his/her medical history, as well as physical acceptance along with its effectiveness.

Antidepressants cannot and must not be discontinued immediately and without approval from the doctor who is treating the patient, as the extent of side effects towards the antidepressants is at its peak during the initial stages of administration and mellow down with the continuation of usage antidepressants.

The medication is weaned off slowly. Immediate discontinuation can lead to marked physical and mental disturbances. The patients are forewarned by the doctor to not practice self-therapy, such as in the cases of bipolar disorder.


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